“On the road again,” Willie Nelson twanged during Michael Kors’ finale. To wit, in a preview he stressed that after hitting “the pavement of New York” for his 30th anniversary collection last fall, he, too, is on the road again, or, more correctly, on the plane again. “If I could commute, my new South Beach would be the Singita Lodges in South Africa. We’ve been there three times,” he said, referring to his travels with husband Lance Le Pere.
For spring, Kors wants to bring a little of Singita Lodge life to his ladies, whether they book a trip or not. As he sees it, the inherent aesthetic offers the best of all worlds: a deep connection to nature but also comfort and modernity. Enter his parade of women and men, their casual glam inspired in part, as always, by Lauren Hutton and Peter Beard and, more recently, Brad and Angelina. They looked all set for adventure in earthen tones and easy silhouettes. Women who prefer not to restrict their wardrobes to gigantic prints and getups that riff on sports garb will appreciate such runway rarities as shirts, tank tops, Henleys and pants, all in gauzy weights or heftier fabrics washed and rumpled for comfort’s sake, and, for more flamboyant moments, floating georgette ponchos and caftans. Also impressive: the practical presentation of an artisanal sensibility in a fabulous coat and skirt worked in patchworks that played rugged off refined.
Still, the models’ ready-for-real-life glamour proved too grounded. Even with shots of rusts and orangey reds, the prevailing palette looked drab, so that the occasional zebra-print sighting felt like a dose of graphic clarity. Kors’ ethos has always been to deliver practical chic with sex appeal and joy. This time, the trip hit some bumps that tempered the joy.
The men’s collection was better suited for a South African adventure. Linen ruled, in utility shirts paired with monochromatic cargo pants and hand-dyed scarves. The unconstructed suits, lightweight summer parkas and washed leathers helped the once-Madison Avenue man look elegantly at ease.